Opinion

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's rebellion hurts the Democratic Party

While some believe Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to be the future of the Democratic Party, her radical ideas may do more harm than good. 

In the ethos of modern American politics, a veneer of revolutionary calls for global climate change has simmered to the lid of the nation’s policy reformist cause. With that, youth activists have swarmed themselves behind the charisma of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the freshman congresswoman representing New York’s 14th district, who, as of late, has been headlining the country’s surging push toward clean energy. Her highly controversial Green New Deal — a ground-shaking proposal that pushes to implement decarbonization nationwide — has created disdain among those opposed to the legislative resolution. The proposal would eviscerate the United States’ dependency on non-renewable fuel sources in a mere twelve years, with the helping hand of unwarranted massive government intervention. Supporters, conversely, are caught up in the cause of being flag-bearers for planetary salvage, and preventing mankind from further entrenching itself in the destruction of Earth.  

Similar in being rebellion-laden, the opening title sequence to the mid-2000’s sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle" often was met with an onslaught of head-banging, punk teenagers blaring the cacophonous lyrics, “YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME, NOW!” so loud that the speakers themselves probably just about went deaf afterwards. The mantra became a coalescent force for these adolescent pugilists to unite under as they partook in the viewing pleasure of one of television’s dingiest, yet most uplifting series to hit the airwaves. With the amalgamation of the show’s ‘f-you’ overtone and the resilience that encapsulates the juvenile experience, the theme song let viewers know that they were about to partake in a twenty-minute bombardment of pure teenage rebellion and chaos. This musical decree, titled “Boss of Me,” served as the battle cry for the wonderful show, and to this day resonates in the backdoor of its former, now-grown fans’ urge for mutiny.

Ocasio-Cortez expertly reinvigorated that call for mutinous disdain, as seen through her retort of “I’m the boss — how about that?” to skeptics of the Green New Deal, who pointed to the bulldozing of the nation’s economy and infrastructure that would be necessary in implementing such a disparate plan. Much like Malcolm’s recurring tone of defiance and refusal to capitulate to society’s expectations, Ocasio-Cortez too has shown her inner rebelliousness, as seen through the wailing and complaining that unfolded in her fiery responses to conservative and liberal pundits that continue to rip her manifesto to shreds. All being said, though, her ego far supersedes that of the make-believe characters from the fictional comedy — so much so that her bloated persona would be buoyant enough to float a raft of ten William Howard Tafts down the Mississippi without breaking a sweat.

The resolution yielded a jeering “What in the heck is this?” from Dick Durbin, current Democratic Whip of the Senate, and a sly “The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they're for it, right?" remark from Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Needless to say, the negative responses have been a bipartisan matter, with both parties chucking fireballs at Ocasio-Cortez’s impenetrable fortress of ideas.

Why all the malignant responses? Are these grubby politicians just a bunch of emotional hemophiliacs, incapable of mending their guilt-ridden contributions to human-made environmental impacts? Or, could it be the vague, unspecific calls to eradicate all greenhouse gas emissions throughout the nation in the next decade, which would require all gas-powered vehicles (totaling at around 250 million) to either be scrapped or modified to electric? Possibly. Could it be the resolution’s proposed refurbishment of all existing buildings in the United States, which would necessitate a few hundred million property owners to meet the massive, not well-defined ecological mandates to be set by the government? Maybe that, too. Experts at the American Action Forum — a nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington D.C. — estimate that to foot the bill, it could rack up to a staggering $93 trillion, which NASA could probably use to build a few hundred Death Stars, if one had to guess.

Above all, though, Ocasio-Cortez’s parallelism of climate change to being “Like, [this is our] World War II” left some harrumphing at such a comparison and the corresponding Green New Deal. With upwards of 80 million dying in the Second World War, the barbaric Nazi and Japanese regimes stood as the clear perpetrators of such vast human slaughtering. Yet, her quote brings forth the question of who is to blame with regard to the environmental footprint. Clearly, mankind as a whole is to have the finger pointed at, but the culpability for fossil fuel emissions is not to be thrown entirely upon the United States, considering that the global powerhouse accounts for a meager fifteen percent of the fossil fuel blot, according to the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center’s totaling of emissions in 2014. That being said, the dissolution of the States’ unclean energy practices would chip away a rather diminutive chunk at the worldwide climate problem, leaving countries like China — propagating thirty percent of all carbon dioxide emissions — still at fault and as major problem in the grand scheme of things. 

It subsequently bears the question as to what good her proposition will do for the future, considering that now-underdeveloped nations will have a larger supply of fossil fuels, given that countries with larger economies, such as the United States, will have deserted their dependence upon it. With a cheaper option to fall upon, said countries will likely gravitate to the inexpensive, plentiful mounds of non renewable resources, thus eviscerating the precautions to be taken in the Green New Deal. 

All in all, Ocasio-Cortez’s tussle in the ring of Washington D.C.’s political world has been a slippery slope. The young Democratic Socialist vowed to “... run train on the progressive agenda,” and, in all fairness, she has stuck true to her explicit choice of words. In the short time since taking office, the politician has successfully fended off Amazon from planting their new corporate headquarters in the New York City borough of Queens, which would have provided the city upwards of 25,000 new jobs, averaging at around $150,000 in salary. Estimates had projected around $4 billion in annual revenue for the city. 

By pushing these numbers to the side, the representative’s elevation of moral correctness over factual accuracy shows a grave dint of immorality on her part, as she incites that negligence of the truth is appropriate, so long as to pursue her end means. Time will tell how her constituency receives her stay in Congress, and whether or not she will steer her agenda clear off the tracks. 

Owen is a freshman intending on majoring in finance and history. Do you find Representative Ocasio-Cortez's attitude on policy to be helpful or harmful to the Democratic Party? Send all comments to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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